S7HD: 1 in 10 Illinois children have high lead levels in blood

(Source: Pexels/Artem Podrez)
(Source: Pexels/Artem Podrez)

(KBSI) – One in 10 children ages six and younger in Illinois have lead levels in their blood that is too high, according to the Southern 7 Health Department.

The buildup of lead in the body is known as lead poisoning. Of the one million children ages 6 years and younger in Illinois, approximately 100,000 have blood levels that are too high, according to the S7HD.

Even a small amount of lead can harm a child’s brain, kidneys, and stomach, as well as slow development and cause learning and behavior problems.

October 23 through 29 was National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. Southern 7 Health Department encourages parents and caregivers to take the necessary precautions to prevent lead poisoning.

All children 6 months to 6 years should be assessed for their risk of lead poisoning, especially if they live in or regularly visit a home that has paint original to 1978 or before.

The Southern 7 Health Department can do a simple blood test. If too much lead is found in the blood, the child may need treatment.

Women planning to have a baby should also be tested for lead, according to S7HD. Lead in a mother’s body can cause a baby to be born too small and too early.

The best way to prevent lead poisoning is to get the lead out.

  • Wash your child’s hands before they eat.
  • Foods high in Vitamin C, iron, and calcium, such as meat eggs, raisins, greens, mild, cheese, fruits and potatoes, help get the lead out of a child’s system.
  • Wash your child’s toys often and throw away lead-painted toys.
  • Do not store food in open cans or pottery.
  • If you work with lead, shower and change clothes before coming home. Wash your work clothes separately.
  • Run cold water for a few minutes before using it for cooking and drinking. Do not use water from the hot water tap for cooking, drinking or making formula.
  • Wear protective clothing, including gloves and a facemask to clean up chipping and peeling paint inside and outside your home. Wash all clothing separately.

Testing for blood lead is available through Southern 7 Health Department on both the IDPH Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Van and public health clinics. To schedule a blood lead screening for a child, or for more information about testing, call S7HD at 618-634-2297.

Call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Illinois Lead Program at 866-909-3572 for more information on getting the lead out of your home safely.

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